Hard work and clean living key to success for NCCU staff member and student
Billy Brockington works all day, then goes to class at NCCU
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 17:09
Rising criminal justice junior Billy Brockington is wise, well traveled and an advocate for clean living.
An N.C. Central University employee and non-traditional student, Brockington is generous with his smile and quick with a joke.
He is taking two classes per semester toward his degree while also working as a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning mechanic at NCCU.
He was born Dec. 31, 1954 in Whiteville, NC. At a young age he moved to McDougald Terrace in Durham.
“I first heard the sound of the NCCU marching band when I was six years old. I’ve always loved it,” said Brockington.
As a teenager Brockington walked across the NCCU campus everyday to go to classes at Hillside High School. He said he watched NCCU grow up over the years.
“There has been one improvement after another,” said Brockington. “NCCU is a melting pot of diverse and good people, with an overwhelming sense of pride.”
Daniel Robinson is also an HVAC mechanic at NCCU. He has worked with Brockington for four years. Robinson said he enjoys working with Brockington, and appreciates his joyful outlook on life.
“He’s a comedian for sure. He’s a fun person to be around,” said Robinson. “Billy has a great sense of humor.”
Brockington entered the Air Force during the Vietnam War era and eventually started performing aircraft maintenance. He worked on the F-4 Phantom, a fighter jet that can fly at twice the speed of sound.
“I was there for the fall of Saigon,” said Brockington.
He said the place where he was staying in Thailand accommodated Vietnamese refugees.
“I went from eating hot meals to box lunches when we accommodated the refugees. Never did see my air conditioned room again,” said Brockington.
Brockington was based at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. He said he was fortunate to travel the world while enlisted.
“Traveling was an educational experience for a poor boy from Durham,” said Brockington.
Later in his life Brockington spent time with a destructive crowd. He said he saw the effects of drugs and alcohol first hand. While working at the Veteran’s Administration hospital he saw his supervisor drop cocaine. Brockington told his work leader about the illegal activity. According to Brockington, this affected his chances for a promotion, and ultimately prevented him from attaining a higher position.
In 1993 Brockington changed his life. He started a landscaping business and bought his first house.
“I went to church, paid my bills, got married and helped raise my wife’s three children,” said Brockington, who has been married for 15 years.
Brockington said he advocates against drugs, alcohol and abusing women. He lives a clean life, and said that he believes prayer is a necessary component for success.
“My son has never seen me drink. And I will never hit my wife,” said Brockington. “I would like to be remembered as a friend, a loving person and an honest guy.”
In 1996 Brockington applied for, and was offered a job at NCCU. He has come full circle. The kid from McDougald Terrace traveled the world. Now he is a student and staff member at NCCU, less than a mile from where he grew up.
“We’re walking in the footsteps of greatness,” said Brockington.